The hot stove is heating up in Major League Baseball as November gets rolling, with a lot of speculation as to where the top free agents will end up come next season.
Making it fun to prognosticate is the sportsbook SportsBetting.ag, which has set odds as to where some of the biggest names in the game might land if they are not on their current teams for the opener of the 2021 regular season.
Interestingly enough, the Nationals are one of the front-runners to acquire third baseman and three-time All-Star Kris Bryant in a trade if the Cubs decide to offer him up. The Blue Jays are the only team besides the Cubs that have a better chance of nabbing Bryant, +325 to +350.
If Marcell Ozuna does not return to the Braves, the Nats have the best shot to sign the free agent at +300, ahead of the Rangers, White Sox and Red Sox. With the designated hitter question in the National League still up in the air in 2021, a lot of American League teams are on the list.
The Nats are mentioned on the list for coveted catcher J.T. Realmuto, but have to stand in line behind the Mets, Angels and Yankees, according to the sportsbook.
SportsBetting.ag also believes the Nats (+300) trail only the Astros and Braves (+200) as a potential landing spot for veteran All-Star George Springer.
The website gives the Nats the best chance to sign third baseman Justin Turner if the Dodgers do not get him back. SportsBetting.ag has Turner as +225 to go to the Nats, +275 to the Blue Jays and +300 to the Mets. He has played seven seasons with the Dodgers, won the 2020 World Series and on the same night found out he had tested positive for coronavirus, then got into hot water for running back onto the field after the game to celebrate without a mask.
But getting Bryant or Turner at third base changes the game for the Nats. Having another solid hitter in the lineup will only help Juan Soto see more good pitches and not have to resort to walks more often than not.
The Nats would definitely appreciate the services of one of the most dependable starters in the American League the last seven seasons if right-hander Masahiro Tanaka decides to come to D.C. Tanaka had won 11 or more games for six straight seasons before the 2020 shortened season. After the Yankees, SportsBetting.ag gives the Nats the sixth-best chance (+700) of signing Tanaka.
Finally, the Nats are tied for fifth-best chance (+400) to sign veteran infielder Didi Gregorius, who has played shortstop all of his career. The Nats obviously have Trea Turner at that spot, so that would most likely mean Gregorius or Starlin Castro would play third base if Gregorius comes over after one season with the Phillies. This seems to be one of the more far-fetched of scenarios.
It also depends on how much money the Lerners want to shell on the open market and where they want to improve the team. This will go a long way in deciding if the Nats have a shot at any of the big-name free agents or tradable blue chips that are out there to be had for 2021.